Fiji Health Minister Captures World Attention

Dr Waqainabete SPOKE WITH power, passion in his own unique style. At an international meeting, our Health Minister called on the World Health Organisation to consider the challenges of Small Island Developing countries in their pursuit for universal health coverage
24 May 2019 13:53
Fiji Health Minister Captures World Attention
The Fijian delegation ready to go at World Health Assembly at the Palace of Nations in Geneva. From left: CWM Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Jemesa Tudravu, First Secretary Fiji Mission Vueti May, Ministers for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Nazhat Shameen Khan and Subdivisional Medical Officer Nadroga/Navosa Dr Amos Zibran at the World Health Assembly on May 20,2019. Photo: DEPTFO News

Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has won admiration for his powerful and passionate speech at the 72nd Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services delivered Fiji’s national statement in style.

Instead of the traditional speech from the podium, he spoke from the floor with microphone in his hand and kept moving and making gestures.

Many of the delegates were impressed with his presentation.

Dr Waqainabete called on the WHO to consider the challenges of Small Island Developing countries in their pursuit for universal health coverage and said that countries such as Fiji remained burdened with substantial limitations, which could be addressed through partnership and collaboration.

“Why is that 70 to 80 per cent of the world have no access to that type of operations, to that surgical service, to those competence, to the facilities that are needed? and today I stand on behalf of the Small Island Developing States, I stand on behalf of the Africans and the Carribeans and I call to all the donors, WHO and all supporters and I say, Support Safe Surgery,” he said.

The Minister for Health reiterated the existential threat of climate change and its effects on health,  the high cost of medicines,  vaccines and equipment with due consideration to economies of scale,  Non Communicable and Communicable Diseases, human resource for health limitations (HRH) and  lack of internship opportunities that could have broadened the scope of health workers.

He called on development partners to support efforts towards human resource for health, strategic financing and the strengthening of emergency response capabilities.

Dr Waqainabete delivered the Commonwealth Statement on behalf of the 53 Member Countries in addition to Fiji’s national statement at the Assembly.


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